Russian attacks on Ukraine grain network a move to cut competition- German minister

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Russian attacks on Ukraine’s grain infrastructure look like attempts to reduce the competition in Russia’s export markets, German Agriculture Minister Cem Oezdemir was reported as saying on Monday.

Ukraine could lose tens of millions of tonnes of grain due to Russia’s blockade of its Black Sea ports, triggering a food crisis that will hit Europe, Asia and Africa, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Monday.

“We are repeatedly receiving reports about targeted Russian attacks on grain silos, fertilizer stores, farming areas and infrastructure,” Oezdemir was quoted as telling the Redaktionsnetzwerk Deutschland, a cooperation network of German regional newspapers.

Russia denies targeting civilian areas.

The suspicion is growing that Russian President Vladimir Putin is seeking “in the long term to remove Ukraine as a competitor”, Oezdemir was quoted as saying.

Russia and Ukraine are traditionally major competitors in global grains markets. Global wheat prices have risen about 40% since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine cut supplies available on world markets from the Black Sea.

According to International Grains Council data, Ukraine was the world’s fourth-largest grain exporter in the 2020/21 season, selling 44.7 million tonnes abroad. The volume of exports has fallen sharply since the Russian invasion.

via Reuters

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